You may not see it. You may not be aware of it. You may not even have a name for it.
But chances are, you have experienced the upper limits problem numerous times.
It’s a term coined by psychologist Gay Hendricks in The Big Leap. The upper limits problem is a paradoxical pattern: when we start to feel good inside, we unconsciously sabotage ourselves so we can go back to feeling bad again.
Upper limits can be difficult to see in action because they run counter to our ordinary logic about life. We think that feeling bad – pain, tension, anxiety, and conflict – is ...
Have you ever noticed that everyone seems busy all the time?
As couples, we're often too busy to talk about what's really going on, too busy to make time for date night, or, sometimes, even too busy to have a meaningful conversation.
As individuals, we're too busy to stay in touch with friends, too busy for hobbies (remember those?), or too busy to relax.
This harried state marks a strange inversion from previous generations. Leisure time used to be a marker of status. Now it means you have no goals, no ambition or drive.
Just imagine what would go down if you responded to someone at...
Busyness, time scarcity, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.
We realize that's a strange thing to say. Most of us don't think of our mind is something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.
But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.
What happens in these moments?
First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts...
Originally published in Inc. Magazine.
We live in a world that seems to have forgotten how to relax.
At work, we rush from one meeting to the next. We use the microscopic gaps in our day to fire off emails and texts. And we frantically try to complete all the items on our to-do list by the end of the day, and mostly fail.
At home, we finally have the space to take a breath and relax. And yet most of the things we do to take the edge off the day keep us stimulated and caught in this "always on" state: social media surfing, binge-watching Netflix shows, and catching up on texts and...
Originally published in Inc. Magazine.
When it comes to how to be more focused and less distracted, we've got things inside out.
We tend to think that we are distracted because of the devices in our pocket, Instagram, Facebook, text messages, phone calls, and the thousands of other notifications beckoning for our attention.
But according to the research of two Harvard psychologists, the real problem isn't our chaotic environment, its our minds.
Psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that the human mind is actually wired for this state of...
Many of the traditions see autumn as the time of year when fear and anxiety reach their apotheosis. Halloween. Elections. Falling leaves. Wind. Grey skies. Which is why now might just be the perfect time to talk about the nature of fear.
Throughout my life, fear and anxiety have been constant companions.
In fact, I think it’s fair to say that much of my motivation for mindfulness practice springs from an almost primal urge to placate fear and anxiety.
When I was a young boy, I feared leaving my parents. I feared...
Following the 2016 Election, I stopped using social media for two reasons:
- The fact that a foreign entity manipulated American public opinion and undermined the legitimacy of the democratic process using these tools
- The fact that numerous studies have linked time spent on social media with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
In recent months, however, I came to the realization that the modern professional often has to engage in these spaces. These tools, after all, help us network, learn about new ideas, and have a broader conversation with others who...
The people I know who seem to have it all still lack one thing. Time.
In just about every conversation I have these days, I hear people complaining about the scarcity of time. “I’m crazy busy,” “I’m grinding,” “I’m back-to-back all day,” “I’m slammed,” they say.
My life is no different. I often feel that I’m trying to cram 2 days worth of activities and events into a single 24-hour period – trying to make space for work, creative thinking, exercise, mindfulness, family time, basic life...
10 years ago, I lived what appeared to be a perfect life. I had recently married my high school sweetheart. I was one year short of completing my PhD. And I was on the fast track to realizing my dream of becoming a professor of political philosophy.
On paper, everything was perfect. Marriage – check. Friends – check. Long list of academic degrees – check.
But in my mind, everything was a mess. The stress of grad school, a recent bike accident, and my own...
This article was originally published in Inc. Magazine.
When it comes to anxiety, we've got everything backwards.
Just consider the last time you felt a wave of raw fear minutes before a big presentation or a difficult conversation. If you're like most people, your first instinct was to say to yourself, "Stop freaking out. Calm down."
And yet, according to Harvard Business School professor Allison Wood Brooks, this is exactly the wrong thing to do. Her research shows that shifting from anxiety, a negative state of high arousal, to calm, a positive state of low arousal,...
I’ve come to a sobering realization when it comes to my meditation practice: I will never be an elite meditator.
And that has led me to rethink the basic nature of mindfulness practice.
Here’s the context. In Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson’s latest book Altered Traits, which brings together the most cutting edge scientific research on the benefits of meditation, they conclude that the benefits of meditation are a function of the amount of time you spend doing the practice.
Beginning level meditators (those who have practiced for at...